The title ‘1828’ refers to Schubert’s final and astoundingly productive year, which brought forth the three duets and solo sonata featured on this disc. In Philippe Cassard’s hands, the declamatory dynamism of the D959 A major Sonata’s first-movement exposition takes a back seat, with an emphasis on shapely soft playing that ravishingly comes to roost throughout the movement’s development section. The pianist’s eloquent legato holds attention in the Andantino’s outer sections, yet he downplays the harrowing chromatic climax. He similarly understates the Scherzo’s explosive descending minor scales, yet his delicate, witty arpeggiation of the main theme’s leaping chords delights. While the Rondo gains assurance and momentum as it progresses, I prefer Pollini’s firmer left-hand projection in the explosive central minor episode and the intelligent architecture of his dynamics.
The name of Eduard van Beinum may too often be overlooked among the music directors of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in between the longer and more internationally renowned tenures of Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Haitink, but this is a wrong that Eloquence has put right with the reissue of the greater portion of Van Beinum’s recorded work with the orchestra on both Decca and Philips. The conductor has been revealed anew as an interpreter of lucidly phrased fidelity to the score and uncommon sensitivity. The present issue brings repertoire especially close to Van Beinum’s heart. He was a master Schubertian, who needed to be taught no lessons by the nascent period-instrument movement on nurturing a hop, skip and jump in the composer’s effervescent orchestral textures or coaxing a sweetly flowing lyricism from their sunny complexions.
Although he himself was a highly gifted composer, Austrian-born Alexander Zemlinsky is today better remembered as the man who taught both Arnold Schoenberg and Erich Wolfgang Korngold than for his own creations. Zemlinsky was born to a Vienna-based Polish family in 1871. After attending the Vienna Conservatory from 1887 to 1892 (first studying piano with Anton Door and later composition with J.N. Fuchs) he joined the Wiener Tonkünstlerverein (Vienna Composer's Society) in 1893. He made the acquaintance of Arnold Schoenberg in 1895, teaching him counterpoint for many months, and thus becoming that remarkable ………
“…an exciting technique and keen intelligence animated by an impetuous temperament…a remarkable talent.”(The New York Times)